Posted: Friday, October 10, 2014

Business leaders joined with GCS middle school principals today to find out what it was like to be “Principal for a Day.” The goal was to share their knowledge with school staff while learning more about our public schools.

Leesa Owens, Director of Community Relations for Michelin, served as principal of Lakeview Middle School. She said it was enlightening to see everything that it takes to run a school. “It started right away with the students being dropped off, answering parent questions, getting teachers on their way, thinking about what your day will look like, and even monitoring the hallways,” she said.

Lakeview Middle Principal Latonia Copeland added, “I wanted to stress the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of students. Also, how can we expose her to a true day at middle school? We’ve had great conversations and I think she has done a great job.”

Mrs. Owens said the most interesting thing that happen was when students walked by and kept saying, ‘It’s Friday!’ “I wasn’t sure if something special was supposed to happen on Friday. It took a minute to understand they were expressing their excitement and anticipation for the weekend ahead,” she explained.

There were a few surprises, too. “I observed the instructional coach in the classroom. I wasn’t aware of all that instructional coaches do to make sure the curriculum and content are on point while providing feedback for the teachers.” In addition to principal duties, Mrs. Owens visited classrooms to speak about the importance of work skills on the job as well as careers in manufacturing.

One of the most important takeaways she learned from spending the day as a middle school principal is, “You’ve got to have a lot of energy and passion for the children. It is a calling for people who are passionate about education and want to make a difference.”

The Education Committee of the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce coordinated the effort through Marjorie Dowd, Director of Business Partnerships for GCS. “Guest Principals” represented GE Power & Water, Property Boss Solutions, Jackson Marketing Group, Grainger, Clemson Visual Arts, Craig Gaulden & Davis, Mitsubishi, Greenville Health System, Michelin, Baldor, St. Francis Bon Secours Health System, Charter Communications, TD Bank, VUroom, CU-ICAR, Greenville Downtown Airport, Piedmont Natural Gas, and ScanSource.

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